Latest Penguins Training Camp Buzz: Keys areas to watch with Daniel Sprong’s game


Key Factors that will determine Daniel Sprong playing with Crosby for a sustained period In an expected development, Daniel Sprong opened camp on Sidney Crosby’s right wing and has stayed in that spot since. This has been a preference of management and it’s going to get a look in the preseason. We’re at the stage of camp still where the coaching staff is in exploring mode. I’ve mentioned in the past about how in a perfect world the staff would love for a Sprong or Dominik Simon to show sustainability of being able to play Crosby in that it would allow the staff to do other things like play Patric Hornqvist with Derick Brassard in a third line role. Sprong has flashed his skilled game all camp, notably his dynamic shot, but we’ve learned little to this point of whether the coaching staff and Crosby will be comfortable enough toRead More »

Latest NHL Buzz: Fallout of the Max Pacioretty Trade


Latest NHL Buzz: Fallout of the Max Pacioretty trade The Max Pacioretty saga was only heading towards one direction, a trade, and the Montreal Canadiens sent their captain packing Monday morning in trading Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights. In return for Pacioretty, Montreal acquired forward Tomas Tatar, prospect Nick Suzuki, and a 2nd round pick in 2019 from the Vegas Golden Knights (Columbus’ pick previously acquired by Vegas). Tatar who carries a $5.3 million cap hit through the 2020-2021 season, was a total disaster in Vegas, struggling mightily in the Knights fast-paced system. In Claude Julien’s slower paced system, Tatar may bring some value to a Canadiens team depleted at center. The key to the deal for Montreal is clearly Nick Suzuki, the 13th overall pick in 2017. He’s a versatile forward that can play all three positions and scouts think his ceiling will be 20 goal, 50 pointRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Talk of ‘Less minutes the better for Kris Letang’ is a great unknown for 2018-2019


Latest Pens Buzz (Daily 5) Rumblings, Musings, & Opinions Kris Letang is the Penguins biggest storyline in 2018-2019 because of him being such an unknown of whether Letang getting back into that top-10 to top-12 hemisphere among the best d-men in hockey is even possible for him anymore. This time of the year and when training camp opens is all about feel good stories. Buckle up for them. There’s probably going to be 10-12 ‘Kris Letang is primed for a big bounce back season’ stories out there if not already, ‘Kris Letang is in the best shape of his life’ (the annual training camp storyline in every sport) and so on. Give it three days into camp and one of the local publications in town will be calling Jack Johnson a ‘great signing and perfect fit’. But, what is reality of what to expect from Letang in 2018-2019? Turning 32Read More »

Latest NHL Buzz: Expected RW Competition on Crosby’s line; Karlsson Chatter, CBJ/Rick Nash rumors


Penguins countdown to camp storylines — The right wing situation on Sidney Crosby’s line — Mike Sullivan since he took over as head coach in December 2015 has always been a believer in spreading his lineup out among the top-3 lines. The top priority in 2018-2019 is getting more production out of the bottom-6, the key area the Penguins brass believes doomed them last season, not Kris Letang or the goaltender. Best case scenario, the belief is the coaching staff would love for D LATEST NHL BUZZ The New York Islanders have had a nightmare summer. Islanders ownership made a rush move into hiring Lou Lamoriello in thinking it enhanced their chances to keeping John Tavares when the Lamoriello hiring actually decreased the Islanders chances of signing Tavares, those on the inside say. They countered losing Tavares by signing Leo Komarov to a four-year contract, a washed up Valtteri FilppulaRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: On the Kessel trade market; Carl Hagelin’s future, Jake Guentzel’s next contract & More Buzz


Latest Pens Buzz Rumblings, Musings & Opinions — The  Phil Kessel trade market died before the NHL Entry draft officially began on June 22, league sources say. Kessel was a fascinating situation early this summer as the 30 year old Kessel coming off a 92 point season was front and center in trade talks around the league in leading up to the draft. In early June Pittsburgh was aggressive in trying to find a star-for-star type trade, offering Kessel to a but as the draft got closer Pittsburgh had some trade scenarios brewing that could have netted 2-3 second-third tier level NHL players in return for Kessel. However, when the Penguins arrived in Dallas ready to pursue at least one of the trade scenarios they thought were in play, trade discussions with those clubs went completely dark and it wasn’t on the Penguins end. At the end of the day,Read More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Skinner was ‘lukewarm’ of joining the Penguins when Pittsburgh was in pursuit


Latest Pens Buzz The Carolina Hurricanes return for Jeff Skinner has been widely scrutinized over the past couple days but not so much in league circles. The growing consensus surrounding the Hurricanes is that they were backed in a corner and there are clubs and NHL scouts who have Cliff Pu rated much higher than pundits do. Despite what the player may be saying publicly, what played out here is Skinner’s power of a full no-move clause nixed at least three trade proposals the Hurricanes were willing to move on during the draft weekend and over the past 3-4 weeks, Carolina was only given a very small list of teams Skinner would be willing to go to. Despite the belief around the NHL that Carolina’s return is not as low as being perceived through the media, trading a player of Skinner’s caliber with no young NHL talent for next seasonRead More »

What the Derek Grant Signing means for the Penguins


Penguins now have six centers on 1-way contracts The summer has hit the ‘league minimum’ period for free agents and the Penguins have joined the fray in signing center Derek Grant to a one year, $650,000 contract. A left shot, the 6-foot-3, 215 lbs forward had a career season for the Ducks in 2017-2018 with 12 goals and 24 points in 66 games. Penguin coaches havd recommended in scouting meetings this summer the team add a forward or two with size/physicality. As mentioned before, Pa What the signing means for the Penguins One NHL source alluded to the signing of Grant to this: ‘The signing is not a precursor of another center getting shipped out of town (no trade is cooking right now) and this is just a player the Penguins like and feel the center/winger versatility of Grant gives the staff more flexibility.’ [Cliff notes — Don’t read intoRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: On stalled trade talks; Brassard-Malkin, Dumoulin-Johnson likely experiments in camp; Skinner still in play?


An impact trade for the Penguins has yet to transpire Stalled on the trade market in recent weeks, the Penguins opening night roster three months from now could very likely be what it is on paper as of July 12. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has been aggressively trying to shakeup his roster since around mid-June but the Penguins have found tough sledding on matching up in talks on specific targets. Adding an impact left winger has been high on Rutherford’s list on the trade market and the Penguins have been courting Carolina’s Jeff Skinner since the week of the draft to no avail. Tristan Jarry would have/or will be part of any Skinner to Pittsburgh trade but only as a second or third piece, league sources say. Pittsburgh’s unwillingness to build a package around and Carolina’s signing of Calvin DeHann has further complicated Pittsburgh’s pursuit of Skinner as internal discussionsRead More »

Why the Penguins made a calculated move to leak the Johnson signings days in advance


The Pittsburgh Penguins signing of Jack Johnson to a 5 year contract has drawn major criticism and the Penguins knew it was coming before the deal became official on July 1. That’s a main reason the team made a calculated move last week to leak the signing several days before July 1. One source noted the club wanted to try to get out in front of it. Jim Rutherford is a GM who offers unbelievable access for a General Manager. He’s not shy about laying his plans out in the open, he’ll often tell you how he feels, even if it’s off the cuff. One thing, though, that is very important to Rutherford is positive press, those who know Rutherford constantly say. All you have to do is look back at how he handled the negative headlines late in the 2014-2015 season. Rutherford is a wonderful guy, a likely Hall-of-Famer,Read More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Second-Guessing, fallout of the Johnson signing on what it prevented the Penguins from doing on July 1


[TIOPS HEADLINES] [Johnson seen by management as potentially taking tough minutes away from Letang] [How the Johnson signing ended the ability to sign Grabner] [Neal camp approached Penguins about a return?] [Dominik Simon part of coaching staff’s plans] [Cullen expecting to play a lot of wing] Latest Pens Buzz — Jim Rutherford drove the bus in signing Johnson, sources say. This wasn’t some consensus organizational decision that Jack Johnson is the answer to the Penguins solidifying their top-4. Rutherford see’s something the rest of the hockey world doesn’t as the Penguins negotiated against themselves for Johnson as he had a one year offer from the Anaheim Ducks and was in discussions on a two year deal with the Detroit Red Wings as a fallback plan if Mike Green signed elsewhere. Montreal expressed interest at the draft but were quickly told the player would not consider playing in Montreal. Pittsburgh notRead More »